This week David Lowery grumpled many of the Interbutts as he published a list of 50 "undesirable" (read: "un-licensed") music lyrics sites to target for legal action by the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA). With some major exceptions (RapGenius!), many of these sites do, in fact, suck. They're undesirable from an Internet user standpoint as well what with pop-unders and malware.
The fact is, they are worried about lost revenue from the licensing fees these guys should be paying, and the fact that lyrics sites have tons of ads, and that it follows that their owners are sitting on massive piles of cash in the Caymans. So let's go sue 'em all and get that Scrooge McDuck money silo each of them has to have. Here's a better idea, why doesn't the industry run its own goddamn lyrics sites? Well hell, I bet since we live in The Future and all, you could even track how many times someone searches for a song and give Dave Lowry his quarter of a cent per 100 impressions for Euro-Trash Girl lyrics.
The claim that it's "ripping us off as artists" is unconvincing though. If someone's reading the lyrics, you must assume they're listening or have just listened to that song, which they either own or they don't (Keep going after those pirates, I can at least see the point kind of, best of luck). Very very few songs have lyrics that merit reading on their own without music surrounding them. No one is reading the lyrics to Dr. Heckyll & Mr. Jive who isn't also listening to that song right now.
The Musician as modern Shelley is in all but the most exceptional cases disingenuous at best (Fun fact: Search for Percy Shelley on Google, and the #3 hit after Wikipedia and Poets.org is poemhunter.com, one of the NMPA's targeted sites of IP thieves). Off the top of my head, I can think of four musicians whose lyrics I could just sit and read, and even that is only a handful of songs per artist. Also off the top of my head, I can think of zero musicians whose lyrics I have just sat and read as art for its own sake.
It certainly didn't take Tennyson to write Take The Skinheads Bowling.
"Industry Sues Morons, film at eleven". Fine. "Fragile snowflake genius loses livelihood when someone can search for their lyrics for /free(!)/". Well you lost me there pal.